NT Terminating Employment Contract before Completion Date

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30 July 2014
Hi, I have/had an employment contract with my employer that was badly written (I did ask for clarification as noted on the original copy which is in my possession)

I have serve 2 years and 8 months of a 3 year contract, there is a clause that states if the contract is terminated before 3 years the relocation costs (20k) must be paid in full,
At the time when I signed it I was verbally assured that it was a sliding scale with 100% being payable in the first year, 50% in the second and 25% in the 3rd however this is not written in the contract.

As I am going to a competitor my employer has placed me on gardening leave for 4 weeks to serve my notice,
They have asked for the 20k back and my original proposal was for them to pay me out and put the 4 weeks wage and annual leave balance against the owing amount.

Do I have any grounds for disputing the owed amount as I think it's unfair considering I was 3 months (including my 4 weeks notice) shy of the 3 years.

Also in the event that they agree to let me go earlier, are they legally allowed under employment law to stipulate who I can work for?


Paul Cott

Well-Known Member
LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
26 May 2014
Ballarat, Victoria
Hi Matt,

If it was a verbal assurance only that the amount payable by you was on the stated sliding scale, then the answer is that generally (though it is not an answer without complexity) it has not become part of the contract (in its totality). Perhaps receive some formal legal advice on that issue.

As to the issue of who you work for next, that may governed by the contract and whether there is a restraint of trade clause in it or not, and if so, exactly what it says.

Hope that is of some assistance.